The Student Newspaper of Catawba College

Reflections of a First Time Voter

Sydney Smith, Writer, editor

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I can safely turn on a news station now without seeing some image of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama at any given second. Most Facebook and Twitter posts seem to have moved on to other interests and trends. The campaign posters aren’t staked out in too many front yards, anymore (yet the bumper stickers are still permanent and rampant on many a hatchback). Although my first presidential election voting experience was memorable, I couldn’t be any more relieved that it’s over.

The morning of elections, I left for my official voting location, a local high school. This local high school is in the middle of nowhere, Salisbury, NC. The high school’s next door neighbor is a herd of cattle on one side and a sprawling field of nothing on the other. When I walked through the doors, I was surprised to see nobody else besides two little old ladies with their giant list of voters’ names on a plastic white picnic table before them. “Name please,” she grunted. I stammered off my name and took my ballot sheet to the rickety circa-1950-something voting table and got down to business.

Firstly, I wasn’t prepared too much beyond voting for Obama or Romney. I had that part pretty solidly decided before November 6th ever rolled around. However, when I saw the rabble of other names and other positions listed before me, I panicked, slightly. How do I vote for these people? What position is this, and if I vote this person in for it, what will he/she do? Do I vote for this person just because I vaguely remember hearing his name over an irritating local radio commercial? Do I NOT vote for this person because their radio commercial was irritating? Next time I vote for something, I intend to do a lot more research before ever heading to the polls.

Although I’m just accountable for a single vote, it’s still a vote. One vote can make a difference, whether anyone realizes it or not. All those votes tallying up for one candidate or another didn’t just magically appear — it takes a lot of  those “just one” votes to add up and make those numbers happen. I won’t share which candidate I researched thoroughly and chose, but between both candidates, I feel like I made the best choice for my concerns and interests in my nation. I think that is what makes a vote really count. . . .even if it is “just one,” it’s powerful because of the conviction and efficacy behind it’s purpose.

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The Student Newspaper of Catawba College
Reflections of a First Time Voter